Bureau of Land Management National Park Service U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Service

West Fork River (Sipsey Fork), Alabama

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Managing Agency:

U.S. Forest Service, William B. Bankhead National Forest


Designated Reach:

October 28, 1988. From the confluence of Sandy Creek upstream to the confluence of Thompson Creek and Hubbard Creek. Hubbard Creek from its confluence with Thompson Creek upstream to Forest Road 210. Thompson Creek from its confluence with Hubbard Creek upstream to its origin. Tedford Creek from its confluence with Thompson Creek upstream to section 17, T8S, R9E. Mattox Creek from its confluence with Thompson Creek upstream to section 36, T7S, R9W. Borden Creek from its confluence with the Sipsey Fork upstream to its confluence with Montgomery Creek. Montgomery Creek from its confluence with Borden Creek upstream to the SW 1/4 of section 36, T7S, R8W. Flannigan Creek from its confluence with Borden Creek upstream to section 4, T8S, R8W. Braziel Creek from its confluence with Borden Creek upstream to section 12, T8S, R9W. Hogood Creek from its confluence with Braziel Creek upstream to section 7, T8S, R8W.


Classification/Mileage:

Wild — 36.4 miles; Scenic — 25.0 miles; Total — 61.4 miles.

Sipsey Fork of the West Fork River

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Photo Credit: Dr. Sarah Praskievicz

Sipsey Fork of the West Fork River

The Sipsey Fork of the West Fork River is situated in northwestern Alabama. The river exhibits the blending of striking landforms, diverse plant life and outstanding scenery. Steep canyon walls and sandstone bluffs, ranging in height from 30 to 100 feet, cascading waterfalls and water seepages combine with a variety of plant life native to the Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Mountains to make the river one of the most scenic areas in the region.

Waterflow on the Sipsey Fork of the West Fork River is highly dependent on rainfall occurrences. During summer drought seasons, the river will be characterized by a low stream flow of only a few inches deep mixed with occasional deep pools. During the fall, winter and spring months, river levels can rise from low flow to flood stage in a matter of hours due to rapid run-off from steep topography, slow permeable soils and highly intense rainstorms. After rainfall subsides, the river levels tend to recede rapidly.

The official designation in the Wild & Rivers Act is the "Sipsey Fork of the West Fork." However, the name "West Fork" does not appear on any official U.S. Geological Survey maps.